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Re: Megapode cuteness factor?

--- David Peters <davidrpeters@earthlink.net> wrote:

> With regard to megapode chicks (those able to fly shortly after
> hatching): any pictures? 
    You mean cuckoos, or other organisms inhabiting a "exploit the
young-raising behaviour of unrelated organisms" niche?

> Are they born cute? 
   Cuteness is very much in the eye of the beholder. As anyone who's
ever pointed out that the newly arrived child looks like a very small,
very old, very senile, very bad-tempered, dwarf. Also witness the
reported preference for particular clans (? I can't remember the
polysyllabic term) of cuckoos to parasitise a particular species of
other bird, evidently entering into an evolutionary arms race for
cuteness factor with the chicks and parents of the parasitised species.

> After all, they never
> see
> their parents.
    Which parents?
    (the current thread in the "Freefall" comic is apposite. See
http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1200/fv01143.htm and
http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1200/fv01144.gif )

    Since at least one of the candidate groups for "closest living
relative of the pterosaurs" has members capable of complex behaviours
and severe mimicry, then it's not inherently implausible to expect the
same from the relatives. The history of studies of animal intelligence
is littered with people saying "woooh, I never thought they'd be clever
enough to do that!". From chimps beating other primates over the head
with lumps of rock to the Corviid dinosaurs wheedling the discarded
food out of the "crow proof" bins outside my local KFC.

Aidan Karley,

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